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now the dark is nigh and she lays here at my side

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They go to Cam and Pal's for movie nights. Gideon makes sure that Harrow gets the best seat (because she's bony and terrified of literally everything Cam and Pal do, so a little comfort is only courteous) and she makes sure that Harrow has enough bread because sometimes she doesn't eat before they leave. But Harrow get's Pal's very soft recliner and sometimes she invites Gideon to join her, when it's been a long night of nightmares and Harrow needs the physical proximity.

Gideon doesn't think about what that might mean.

They arrive at Cam and Pal's late on a Saturday evening. The sun has almost set (Gideon had been home late from work and Harrow had insisted on Gideon baking some fresh croissants to bring over to Cam and Pal's because "Even though I don't enjoy the taste of them, Griddle, it's only courteous.") and they take the stairs up to the apartment two at a time until they reach the door. Gideon knocks; Harrow stands off to the side, nearly behind her. Even after all these visits that they've had, Harrow still finds a way to weave fear into every move that she makes. It's almost impressive.

When Camilla opens the door, she offers a small smile (the Camilla equivalent of a beaming grin) and she steps to the side to make way for the two of them. Gideon pulls Harrow into the apartment, holding her hand tight. Palamedes is in the living room, pulling up something on the practically ancient TV he uses for all their movie nights. Gideon suspects he has another one lurking around but he denies any and all accusations.

"I'm here, nerds," Gideon calls and Palamedes and Harrow shush her in sync and Camilly only shakes her head.

"Glad you're joining us, Harrow," Palamedes offers because he's rude and he probably secretly hates Gideon. When she offers him the finger, he only shakes his head and looks away.

Harrow doesn't reply.

"Make yourselves comfortable. There's the standard in the kitchen to drink, we haven't been able to get to the store to restock," Pal continues and he turns back to what he's doing to the TV. Camilla walks back, settles down at his side and throws an arm over his shoulder. It's a normal night, all things considered.

Gideon goes to get their drinks, stopping only to motion for Harrow to sit in her standard chair. Harrow takes the seat, stares at Cam and Pal for a moment before she gets drawn into a conversation about one thing or another. She’s big into books, and Gideon doesn’t even try to stop her when she starts talking nerd shit with Palamedes. The sounds of their conversation fades slightly as Gideon crosses the apartment. 

When Gideon returns from the kitchen, Harrow is perched anxiously on the edge of the seat. She accepts her drink, scoots and Gideon folds herself into the space where Harrow isn't, taking up what's probably more than her fair share of space.  She doesn't get a sip of her drink, doesn't even get to tease Pal when Harrow turns, and curls up in Gideon's lap. She moves in close, draped across Gideon with her arms coming up around Gideon's neck to hold herself in place.

Gideon can't help the kiss that she drops on top of Harrow's head and the woman doesn't even flinch. The fuzz on her hands is a little ticklish against the back of Gideon's neck but Gideon doesn't complain. Pal sends her a pointed look over the top of Harrow's head and she just smiles to herself, glad to find herself in the affections of such a strange but wonderful woman.

"These croissants are good," Pal says and Cam repeats the sentiment, only with her mouth full. Gideon accepts their praise with a gracious nod of her head and then she snuggles closer to Harrow, savoring the warmth that Harrow's body somehow contains. Pal begins the movie. The night is quiet, except for the screams from the screen, because Palamedes had chosen a horror movie. Of course he had.

"Terrible movie," Camilla says as soon as it starts. Pal, of course, shushes her. 

Gideon suspects Harrow falls asleep about five minutes in because that's when her breath (conveniently puffing against Gideon's collarbone just enough to send shivers down her spine) evens out and she doesn't complain. She's asleep for the whole fucking film, deep enough that she doesn't wake even at Palamedes and Camilla's teasing, which is loud, raucous, and mostly at Gideon's expense. She doesn't really mind that much because she has Harrow sleeping on top of her and she doesn't even know why.

It actually consumes her for most of the film. She can't stop thinking about it, about why Harrow would choose to come when she's so tired, when there was clear exhaustion that weighed heavily on her shoulders. It runs circles in her mind, throws her for a loop every time she dares think of it. Gideon nearly gets fucking nauseous at one point, thinking about how vulnerable Harrow is, how she's willingly placed herself in that situation and the overwhelming emotion resets her entirely. With Harrow draped across her, however, Gideon can't bear to move her and she has to swallow the emotion down and pretend like everything is alright when Palamedes sends her a questioning look.

"Tell her," Camilla says when the movie is almost over and Gideon will have to wake Harrow soon. "You're stupid and she's stupid and you should just tell her how you feel. There's something between the two of you and the sooner you address it, the happier both of you will be." And she smiles just slightly and she turns her attention back to the screen just as Harrow wakes up.

She shifts a bit, yawns and regards Gideon with a sleepy expression, eyes half closed. Still, she looks content and, before Gideon can say anything to fuck it up, Harrow has burrowed her head back against Gideon's neck. 

"I think this is what you told me is love," Harrow says, and she's whispered it and Cam and Pal give no signs of hearing and Gideon melts and presses her nose to the top of Harrow's head and closes her eyes to keep from bursting into tears like a fucking sap. 

"Later," she says because if they do this in front of Cam and Pal, Gideon will embarrass herself. "Just...later, please." And Harrow seems to understand because she doesn't say anything else and she just sits there, in Gideon's arms, letting herself be held. The movie finishes. Palamedes and Camilla go on like normal. Gideon pretends her world hasn't been rocked a dozen times over in the evening, thanks them for the movie and the drinks. 

Palamedes hugs her because he's a hugger. Camilla gives her a fist bump. Harrow stands off to the side, and she shifts her weight from foot to foot until Gideon says it's time to go. 

"Thank you," Harrow's tone is robotic, the words a bit forced and Palamedes' responding "You're welcome" is warm and friendly.

Gideon can't wait to get out. She speeds all the way home and Harrow grips her shirt tight and that just makes it better. They make it back safe (the roads are nearly empty this time of night) and they stumble into Gideon's apartment and Harrow grabs her arms and forces her gaze onto her entirely. 

And then they're kissing and Gideon's heart is falling and falling and falling. It's not pretty, Harrow uses too much teeth and her teeth are pointy but it's the best kiss that Gideon's ever had. It's fast, over before Gideon wants it to be (she never wants it to end) and they end up just staring at each other for a long minute.

"I love you," Harrow says.

"I love you," Gideon says.

And really, what's more to say than that?

(A lot, honestly, but Gideon doesn't really want to think beyond it. This is enough.)